United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MICHAEL VAZQUEZ U.S.D.J.
MATTER comes before the Court by way of Plaintiff
Claudia Bejarano's ("Plaintiff) unopposed motion for
default judgment as to Defendant Mayank Ray
("Defendant"), D.E. 148; and it
that even when a party is actually in default "the other
side is not entitled to the entry of default judgment as of
right, and the entry of such a judgment is left primarily to
the discretion of the district court." Sanchez v.
Franzzano, No. 15-2316, 2016 WL 2892551, at *1 (D.N.J.
May 12, 2016); and it further
that in evaluating whether to enter default judgment pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b), the court must determine whether (1)
it has subject matter jurisdiction over the matter and
personal jurisdiction over the parties, (2) the parties have
properly been served, (3) the complaint sufficiently pleads a
cause of action, and (4) the plaintiff has proven damages.
Days Inn Worldwide, Inc. v. Tulsipooja Hospitality,
LLC, No. 15-5576, 2016 WL 2605989, at *2 (D.N.J. May 6,
2016). The Court must also consider "(1) whether the
party subject to default has a meritorious defense, (2) the
prejudice suffered by the party seeking default, and (3) the
culpability of the party subject to default." Animal
Science Prods., Inc. v. China Nat'l Metals & Minerals
Import & Export Corp., 596 F.Supp.2d 842, 849
(D.N.J. 2008); and it further
that the Court must accept all well-pleaded facts in the
pleadings as true, except as to damages. Chanel, Inc. v.
Gordashevsky, 558 F.Supp.2d 532, 535-36 (D.N.J. 2008);
see also Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs of E.
Pa. & Del. Benefit Pension Fund. v. N. Abbonizio
Contractors, Inc., 134 F.Supp.3d 862, 865 (E.D. Pa.
2015). If damages are not mathematically computable or
liquidated, a plaintiff must prove the damages sought. A
court has discretion to hold a hearing to establish the
plaintiffs damages or to rely on documentary evidence.
See Rainey v. Diamond State Port Corp., 354
Fed.Appx. 722, 724 (3d Cir. 2009); Comdyne I, Inc. v.
Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir. 1990); Malik v.
Hannah, 661 F.Supp.2d 485, 490 (D.N.J. 2009); and it
that "[i]f a default is entered against some defendants
in a multi-party case, the preferred practice is for the
court to withhold granting default judgment until the action
is resolved on its merits against the non-defaulting
defendants." Animal Science Prods., Inc., 596
F.Supp.2d at 849; see also 10A Charles A. Wright et
al, Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 2690 (3d ed. 2015) (when
several defendants have closely related defenses "entry
of judgment also should await an adjudication of the
liability of nondefaulting defendants"). This is because
courts do not want to "create the risk of potentially
inconsistent judgments." Eteam, Inc. v. Hilton
Worldwide Holdings, Inc., No. 15-5057 (WHW)(CLW), 2016
WL 54676, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan. 5, 2016) (denying motion for
default judgment where allegations against defaulting and
nondefaulting defendants were identical); and it further
that Plaintiff seeks a default judgment for $45, 000 of
compensatory damages, $45, 000 of liquidated damages, and an
additional, undetermined amount that includes attorneys'
fees and civil penalties. See Proposed Order for
Default Judgment, D.E. 148-6. How Plaintiff arrived at the
amount of her compensatory and liquidated damages, however,
is not clear. It does not appear that the amount was
ascertained through mathematical calculations, and Plaintiff
fails to provide any documentary evidence to substantiate the
amount. While Plaintiff attaches a substantial amount of
information regarding her income during the term of her
employment, such information, on its face, does not explain
the amount of damages sought. Before the Court enters
judgment against Ray, Plaintiff must provide evidence to
support her allegations as to damages. See, e.g., IBEW
Local 351 Pension Fund v. George Sparks, . Inc., No.
14-2149, 2015 WL 778795, at *2 (D.N.J. Feb. 24, 2015)
(denying motion for default judgment and ordering plaintiff
to submit "additional evidence in support of the
calculation of damages"); Mancuso v. Tyler Dane,
LLC, No. 08-5311, 2012 WL 1536210, at *3 (D.N.J. May 1,
2012) (reserving decision on damages "because Plaintiffs
lack sufficient evidentiary support to justify their
damages"). Moreover, the Court raised this
exact concern in addressing Plaintiffs prior motion
for default judgment against Ray. See May 26, 2016
Order (D.E. 114) (finding that Plaintiff seeks "a
default judgment for $90, 000 of compensatory damages, $90,
000 of liquidated damages" without explaining how she
calculated that amount); and it further
that this matter involves multiple defendants. Yet, Plaintiff
only requests default judgment as to Ray, despite that
Michele Melario and other unknown defendants (John Does 1-5,
and ABC Corporations 1-5) appear to remain defendants in this
case. Critically, Plaintiff alleges that Melario was her
(Plaintiffs) supervisor at one/multiple of these companies,
and it appears that Melario allegedly denied Plaintiffs
request for medical leave and then terminated her employment.
Id. ¶ 29. Consequently, even if Plaintiff had
provided sufficient proof of her damages, entering a default
judgment at this time would not be prudent due to the risk of
potentially inconsistent judgments. Plaintiff may re-file her
motion for default judgment after this matter is resolved as
to all other remaining defendants; therefore
foregoing reasons and for good cause shown
on this 1st day of June, 2018, hereby
that for purposes of entering this order, the Court directs
the Clerk of the Court to reopen this matter; and it is
that Plaintiffs motion for default judgment as to Mayank Ray,
D.E. 148, is DENIED without prejudice; and it is further
that if Plaintiff chooses to file a successive motion for
default judgment against Mayank Ray, she must (1)
sufficiently indicate how she calculated the amount of
damages sought; and (2) wait until this matter ...